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Why The Way You Dress Matters

By: Matthew Biehl

A look at how dressing your best can lead to happiness, confidence and
personal and professional success. Oh, and it makes you look good, too.

Have you ever asked yourself what your clothing says about you? If you have and the answer has been anything but “the way I dress reflects the best version of me” then your closet may be in need of an overhaul. With life’s fast pace, the importance that is placed on visuals in modern culture and the fact that face-to-face interactions seem to happen less and less, the saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression” could not be any truer. Now that fashion is more accessible, and fun, than ever, there is no reason why you can’t take pride in the way you dress and look good every time you step out of the house. Yes, it will be an investment of both time and money to update your wardrobe, but the bottom line is that it pays off to put effort into how you dress, and you will feel all the better for it.

Look Good, Feel Even Better
Clothing may have originated as a necessity for humans to protect themselves against the elements, but it has transformed over centuries into a way to present and express oneself in society; clothing is and always will be a part of life. But just because wearing clothing is a given, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to think about what you’re wearing and put effort into getting dressed each and every day. This doesn’t mean having to be dressed up to the nines every waking hour,
but instead making sure that you look good whether you’re stepping out to get a coffee or attending a formal event. By picking the right clothing you ensure you look good, and when you look good you will feel even better. Say you haven’t been hitting the gym as hard as you should be, or maybe not at all? Wearing clothes that fit you properly, meaning, at the most basic, that shoulder seams in shirts hit the end of your shoulders
and your pants sit a bit below your natural waist line, can make you look thinner and taller. By choosing proportions and sizes that complement how you look rather than trying to hide in too-large sizes, you’ll notice an immediate and beneficial change in your appearance that will help to boost confidence. Feeling better about yourself will directly translate to how you present yourself and when coupled with the newly sartorially
polished you, will positively impact how others interact with, and perceive you.

Dress for the Job You Want, Not the Job You Have
Whether you’re looking for your first job or you’ve been in the same position for years, the way you dress will always matter. It goes without saying that your performance in an interview or on the job should be to a high standard, but so should your attire. Dressing for success doesn’t mean identifying the office dress code and meeting the bare minimum. Instead, you should aim for a level of polish that will communicate the fact that you are a professional who puts effort into his appearance and job. If you wear a uniform you don’t have the ability to play with what you wear as others would, but the same rules apply. It should fit and be clean and well maintained to show that you take pride in upholding the standards of the uniform and your profession. Showing that you are both capable in your role and in dressing for your role can be the difference between getting the job or promotion and seeing it go to someone else.
Get the Girl
Another top reason for dressing well: the ladies love it. Wearing clothes that are classic rather than too trendy and that actually fit your body instead of being made for someone two sizes smaller or larger than you will help to separate the boys from the men and will work wonders in catching a woman’s eye. If you’re already in a relationship, avoid hearing the dreaded question of “Are you really going to wear that?” by showing her you can dress yourself no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing. She won’t want you to spend more time than she does picking out what to wear or getting ready to go out, nor should you. But having an established personal style will help you impress her again and again and ensure that she’ll actually want to be seen in public with you, rather than trying to pretend she doesn’t know you.

Comfort is King. Or is it?
A lot of people defend the way they dress by saying that what they wear is comfortable. There is a difference between being comfortable in the clothes you’re in and dressing for comfort. Sweat pants may be comfy, but that doesn’t mean that you should be wearing them to a job interview or on a date. It’s time to step up your game and learn that comfortable can still look good and be event appropriate. Buying clothes made with natural fabrics and that fit your body well will go a long way in making you love how your clothes look and feel. However, for some pieces of clothing, achieving that level of comfort can take a bit of work. Think about buying a brand new pair of leather dress shoes. Now think about your first baseball glove. Remember how you had to break the glove in by wrapping a baseball in the glove and tucking it under your mattress for a couple of nights? The same can be said for that new pair of shoes. No pain, no gain. But once the leather has been broken in those shoes will feel like they were made just for you and the initial discomfort will be a thing of the past.

Bringing it All Home
Now that we’ve established why you should aim to dress your best, we should move onto the how. It’s easy to talk about the benefits of building a wardrobe that will have you looking and feeling good, but
it can be more difficult to put those words into action. To help, let these looks from the Fall 2012 runway be your guide for dressing for the occasion, whatever it may be.

Impress at the Interview
A navy or grey two-button suit will be your best friend, being polished and versatile enough to wear again and again, and not just for interviews. Taking a cue from Louis Vuitton, when wearing a navy suit keep the belt and shoes brown, and for the interview be sure to wear a tie and consider pairing a sweater with the suit as well.

On the Clock
Always in a suit at the office? Try on a double-breasted jacket on for size. The new way to wear it, as seen at Versace, is slim with a lower stance (where the buttons begin on the jacket). This look shows a tone on tone shirt and tie combo, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different colours to keep the suit looking fresh.

Night Out
Here are a few rules to follow when dressing for a night out: nothing too tight, too loose, too shiny and no Ed Hardy. While you’re at it, leave the matching white belt and shoes at home, or better yet, in the dumpster. Instead, try something similar to this outfit from Neil Barrett, dark, sleek and put together, to ensure you look your best when you’re out with you friends.

First Date
Assuming you’re looking to wine and dine your date, put together a look that is polished without being too uptight or formal. A jacket is a must, whether you pair it with jeans or wear a suit, and have fun with what you’re wearing by picking a shirt with a unique collar or print, like this suit and shirt combo from Christian Lacroix.

Meet the Parents
Keep it simple when the time comes to meet your girlfriend’s  parents. You don’t want to look like you’re trying to impress them, even though we all know you are. Taking inspiration from Hermès, pairing a relaxed suit with a v-neck sweater will keep you calm, cool and collected under pressure.

Wedding Bells
So your friend is getting married and you have to get a little fancy. In most cases a suit should be your go-to unless otherwise specified.  Thinking back to the interview advice, a grey or navy suit will be your most versatile choice here, but you can have a little more fun with your shirt and tie combination and accessories, as seen in this look from Ermenegildo Zegna.

Lazy Sunday
Don’t let yourself be that guy stepping out of his house on the weekend still wearing his pajamas. Put the effort into pulling on a pair of your favourite jeans, a shirt, sweater, jacket, or all three. This outfit from Gucci is perfect for relaxing on the weekend.

Stay Warm
Yes, we live in Canada. And yes, the winters are long and cold. It’s easy to turn into a shapeless blob in an effort to stay warm, and the key to prevent this is layering pieces for warmth, as seen at Burberry Prorsum. Layering will keep you looking stylish even when it’s freezing out.

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